Time Management: A Necessary Soft SkillThese days, with an increase in competition for jobs, having the right qualifications just isn't enough. Employers have moved on from hiring based primarily on book qualifications, or even work experience. Beyond the basic skills and proficiencies required for a job, employers need their staff to possess both hard and soft skills.
These soft skills can be classified as personal qualities that help individuals work better with others. As they are transferable skills, they can be used across a wide range of roles. Most of these skills are innate, but can be developed much further through training.
Time management is considered to be one of the primary "soft skills" valued in the workplace, and effective time management skills are key to a successful work life, and play a major part in many of the top attributes valued by employers.
Below are some of the attributes that frequently top employers' lists, and how time management plays a part in them.
Decision MakingEmployers need staff members who can take the initiative and have the ability to make sensible business decisions.
Time management enables decisive action because it clarifies options, outcomes and best choices.
Decisive employees understand the value of time frames and deadlines, and offer further advantages in team support and self-management. The employer can benefit from reduced supervision, and having a more supportive working environment dedicated to outcomes.
Organisational SkillsIt's a given that getting (and staying) organised is the best way to complete tasks on time. Staying organised is a benefit of good time management and it requires a certain degree of vision. So instead of leaping in and working on what's in front of you, even if it seems to be urgent, with planning and organisation you are able to see the whole picture and know the best areas for your focus.
Having vision, or the ability to see the whole process and plan accordingly, is highly valued by employers, especially for matching work schedules to individual skillsets and preferences. With well-practised skills in planning and organising, employees can reduce stress and open opportunities for better work practices, higher degrees of work variation and in turn better productivity.
Ability to Work Under PressureEmployers value staff who can work under pressure, in order to maintain productivity and consistency.
Time Management is essential in high-pressure situations, so employees who are able to handle stress and work in these environments form great teams and build cohesive units that can focus easily on goals.
They tend to be people who enjoy challenges and working to deadlines, and can usually lead others in the areas of team spirit, work satisfaction and productivity.
PunctualityPunctuality is an outcome of good time management that is so obvious that it may slip the mind. But it is such a critical skill to an employer it actually deserves special mention.
People who display excellent punctuality also tend to have abilities in setting and achieving objectives, as well as in consistent productivity and team participation.
Punctuality comes through working, planning and organising, and these in turn enable an employer to manage staff in a clear, structured and productive way.
Another reason that punctuality is so important is that it is possibly the most replicated of all work patterns. When key people are seen to always be punctual, that causes other people to behave in a likewise manner.
The opposite is also true though. Consistently seeing staff arriving late for work or back from lunch, without apparent repercussions, causes others to mimic that behaviour too. Suddenly, far more staff are arriving late, and the organisation has to deal with a culture of poor time-keeping.
The Benefits of Employing Efficient StaffTime management is no doubt one of the most valuable skills anyone can have, yet many people see it as a difficult skill to master.
However, when paired with good organisational skills, it's one of the most sought after skills by employers, and individuals who can manage their time effectively are considered to be an asset to any organisation. The benefits of employing such efficient staff include:
They complete more tasks in less timeUsing detailed planning, prioritisation of tasks and time chunking, smart employees use a focused approach to complete planned objectives faster and more efficiently.
They can improve business reputationWith tasks getting completed in a quick and efficient manner, the business will develop a reputation for delivering projects, on time and on spec. As it continues to meet deadlines and satisfy clients, the organisation may soon find itself with more clients than it can handle.
They deliver better quality of workEmployees who take the time to plan their tasks know exactly what to work on, when to work on it, and how much time it will take. Having a plan sharpens their focus, allowing them to concentrate on delivering the highest quality of work, every time.
They become valuable company assetsWith the completion of each project, there will be learning opportunities. The more staff members learn about their roles, their projects, and the industry as a whole, the more valuable they become to the business.
They contribute to a healthier work environmentResearch has repeatedly shown that people with good time management skills are less stressed, and living happier lives.
The more people working within an organisation that are organised, and displaying little signs of stress, while appearing happy, cause a far more harmonious and enjoyable atmosphere at work. This in turn makes everybody around them less stressed and happier too, with the organisation losing less time lost on staff sick days and other absences.
They can increase company revenueBusiness owners are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve their bottom line. Effective time management boosts staff productivity and efficiency, leading to faster project turnaround and increased revenue.
Linked to the healthier work environment above, that will also mean less staff turnover, so less money having to be spent on recruitment, and staff retention.
ConclusionWith all these benefits, one can see why employers are looking to hire individuals who display strong time management skills. It's ironic that time management is the one skill not taught in schools, but which plays a very important role in every aspect of work and life.
These days, it's no longer about how many degrees or certifications a prospective hire has. Having multiple degrees doesn't matter if they can't work well in a team or constantly need to be monitored to get any work done. Employers want to hire workers who can prioritise and manage their workload, and deliver the desired results.
Effective time management will allow individuals to accomplish more in less time, give them more free time, lower their stress levels and boost their career prospects.